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5 staff of beverages coy docked for allegedly stealing raw material worth N500, 000





Ikeja, March 13, 2019 Five staff of Bobo Foods and Beverages Nig. Ltd., on Wednesday appeared in an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court for allegedly stealing five bags of polyethylene (plastic raw materials) valued at N500, 000.

The police arraigned Luka Friday, 42; Olatubosun Kolade, 27; Moses Nathan, 29; Collins Okon, 38 and Musibau Oluwafemi, 35  with two counts  of conspiracy and stealing,

The defendants, whose residential addresses were not provided, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Prosecutor, Sgt. Michael Unah, said the defendants allegedly conspired and stole five bags of  the raw materials, valued at N500, 000, property of Bobo Foods and Beverages Nig. Ltd.

Unah told the court that the defendants committed the offence with some others at large , on Feb. 19 at 4 a.m., at Bobo Foods and Beverages Nig. Ltd., at No. 87a Iju Road, Agege, a Lagos suburb.

He said the security guard of the Anglican Church where the defendants scaled the fence to hide the stolen raw materials, also connived with them.

The offence, he said contravened the provisions of sSection 287 and 411 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2015 (Revised).

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Section 287 attracts seven years for stealing while Section 411 stipulates two years for conspiracy.

Chief Magistrate Mr A.A. Fashola, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N100, 000 bail each with two sureties in like sum.

Fashola ordered that the sureties must be gainfully employed and must produce evidence of two years tax clearance from the Lagos State Government.

In addition, the magistrate ordered that the sureties must be blood relatives of the defendants and must reside within the court’s jurisdiction.

The magistrate adjourned the case until April 4 for mention.

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I nominated N500m constituency projects–Sen. Folarin



Sen. Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo Central) says he has nominated constituency projects worth N500 million for execution from 2019 to 2020.

Folarin made the disclosure on Tuesday in Ibadan while reacting to the sorry state of roads at Gbaremu-Idi-Obi and Odo-Omi Olosun Bridge.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the three-term Senator was a former Senate Leader and current Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content.

“Considering the agrarian nature of Oyo Central, I nominated five projects in 2019 under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

” These include supply of grain grinding machines for women and youths.

“Others are procurement of farm implements and seedlings for rural farmers, supply of farm inputs, seeds and agro-chemicals for rural farmers and provision of grants for selected rural farmers.

“Also part of these is the purchase of solar street lights. Each of the five projects will gulp N50 million,” he said.

He said that he had in one year nominated three constituency projects which included N100 million for empowerment of cooperatives.

Folarin added that he also nominated N100 million for the empowerment of youths, women and vulnerable people in the industrial business environment of the district as well as N50 million for the supply of empowerment items to constituents.

He promised to give account of his stewardship in 365 days on June 11, assuring his constituents of full implementation of the N500 million worth of projects.

Folarin, who also said the roads at Gbaremu-Idi-Obi and the Odo-Omi Olosun Bridge fell under the purview of Oyo State Government, added that they had remained neglected.

The lawmaker promised to reach out to the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and other relevant authorities to temporarily fix the dilapidated roads pending approval by the Presidency.

“I am aware the roads in question have caused a series of accidents leading to deaths. Also, I cannot bear to see daily harrowing experiences of drivers and other road users.

Hence, I included the roads as part of those I recommended to the Ecological Funds office for complete rehabilitation.

In fact, I must say that engineers from the Federal Ministry of Works have come for evaluation but the COVID-19 pandemic has halted the process,” he said.

The former senate leader equally promised to facilitate the rehabilitation of some dilapidated roads in the state.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)

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COVID-19: WHO advises govts to ease lockdowns in systematic step-by-step approach



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised governments in Africa to ease lockdowns in a systematic step-by-step approach as detailed in the guidelines issued to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The UN’s health agency said this in a weekly bulletin on outbreaks and other emergencies released on Tuesday and posted on its official twitter account @WHOAFRO.

The Weekly Bulletin for Week 22 from May 25 to May 31, 2020 focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region.

The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 114 events in the region.

The edition covers COVID-19 in the WHO African Region, Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Cholera in Ethiopia.

According to the bulletin, COVID-19 outbreak continues in Africa, with the total number of confirmed cases surpassing 100, 000.

“The overall trends continue to rise although with variation among countries.

“Many countries have started easing confinement measures imposed earlier but they are advised to follow the guidelines issued on that,” it said.

The agency also advised countries to continue with containment and mitigation measures.

“African governments need to continue with the containment and mitigation measures that many have implemented, in order to slow the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Active case finding, population screening, testing and contact follow-up are particularly important.

“Governments need to commit local resources, supplemented by the donor communities to this response.

“In addition, humanitarian corridors need to be opened up for the movement of essential supplies and personnel in the many countries whose borders have closed as part of their COVID-19 response,” WHO said.

In addition, the agency said the resurgence of Ebola in Beni, DRC, since the April 10, 2020 highlighted the importance of constant and heightened vigilance.

“It heightened the importance of vigilance for this disease in the face of significant challenges affecting the response and the need to respond to other health emergencies, including COVID-19.

Although, the 42-day countdown to end of outbreak declaration has re-started,” the agency stated.

According to WHO, there has been no new reported confirmed case of Ebola in DRC during week 22 (week ending 31 May 2020).

This is the 34th successive day with zero reported confirmed EVD cases since the resurgence of the outbreak on 10 April, 2020.

As of 31 May, 2019, a total of 3, 463 EVD cases, including 3, 317 confirmed and 146 probable cases have been reported.

“To date, confirmed cases have been reported from 29 health zones and as of 31 May, 2020, a total of 2, 280 deaths were recorded,” it said.

The agency, however, said local and national authorities in DRC needed to continue to reinforce surveillance and response measures in the areas affected by the EVD outbreak in order to prevent a major resurgence of cases.

“Increased community engagement is necessary at this point, as survivors experience increasing stigmatisation and rumours abound,” it said.

Meanwhile, WHO said the ongoing cholera outbreak in three regions of Ethiopia had continued poised many challenges, in spite of the declining trend.

“There is poor sanitation, hygiene and housing in at least one of the affected areas, along with lack of oral cholera vaccine and water treatment chemicals, as well as a recurrence in a previously controlled area.

“The ongoing cholera outbreak in three regions of Ethiopia needs urgent attention from local and national authorities and partners, to capitalise on the declining trend and prevent any recurrence or geographical spread,’’ it stated.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Feature: Rome’s heralded Raphael exhibition reopens with coronavirus restrictions




Nearly three months after it was shut down at the start of Italy’s national coronavirus lockdown, the largest-ever retrospective of the life and work of Renaissance maestro Raphael reopened Tuesday with a choreographed trickle of visitors expected to become the new norm for public places.

The “Raffaello 1520-1483” exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, was under development for three years, featuring works on loan from 52 different museums and collections around the world. It added up to the most comprehensive collection of the work of a painter who died at the age of 37 but who was still as acclaimed as contemporaries Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

The exhibition opened amid great fanfare on March 5, but was forced to close days later when Italy announced Europe‘s first nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

The exhibit reopened Tuesday with the opening-day fanfare replaced by a methodical entry scheme designed to assure social distancing. Visitors, who had to wear face masks, were required to reserve precise entry times. Each visitor had his or her temperature taken by a digital thermometer upon entry.

Organizers allowed one group of six visitors to enter every five minutes and each group was given five minutes in each of 10 halls featuring a period of Raphael’s works and objects important to his career, starting from his death 500 years ago and going back to his youth. A bell chimed at the end of each five-minute period to let each group know when it was time to move onto the next hall.

“It may seem a little mechanical, but it is what we needed to do to allow people to enjoy the exhibition safely,” Matteo Lafranconi, co-curator of the landmark retrospective, told Xinhua. Lafranconi personally greeted many of the groups coming to the exhibition on the first day.

“We’re thrilled we were able to make it work out,” he said, a reference to the challenge of convincing museums and curators of private collections to extend the loan of Raphael’s works for an additional three months. In the end, Lafranconi said, every single lender agreed.

Tuesday had originally been scheduled to be the closing day for the exhibition, which has now been extended to Aug. 30.

On a busy day before the global coronavirus outbreak, the Scuderie del Quirinale museum could host as many as 5,000 visitors. Now, even with extended hours, the daily number will not surpass 800, museum officials told Xinhua.

Museum curators and directors have said this new kind of opening strategy is likely to be the norm as long as the coronavirus remains a threat. But visitors to the Raphael exhibition on Tuesday said they did not mind the new rules.

“It’s very different to visit a museum in this way, but everything is very different if you compare it to before the lockdown,” Antonia Esposito, a retired office worker, said in an interview. “Coming here feels a lot more normal than going to a restaurant or a hair salon these days. I have no complaints. I’m thankful to be able to come here.”

Theresa Verratti, a high school history teacher, agreed.

“I’ve spent the last two or three months teaching classes online,” Verratti told Xinhua. “It feels like a luxury to actually see these beautiful works of art in real life and not in a book or on a computer screen.”

The reopening coincided with Italy’s Republic Day, which marks the 74th anniversary of the national referendum that created Italy’s post-World War II republic, and it comes a day before the country opens its borders to restriction-free tourist arrivals from 25 Schengen countries.


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UN steps up cross-border aid delivery to NW Syria




The United Nations is stepping up cross-border delivery of life-saving assistance to people in need in northwest Syria, including health items to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, said a spokesman on Tuesday.

The massive scale-up has seen an average of over 1,350 trucks per month crossing from the two Security Council-authorized border crossing points in Turkey in the first five months of 2020, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

In May alone, 1,781 trucks crossed into Syria, the highest number of trucks to go across the border since the operations were first authorized by the Security Council in 2014, he said.

Despite the massive operation, needs remain incredibly high throughout northwest Syria, with 2.8 million people in need, including over 1 million people living in camps or informal shelters, he told a virtual press briefing.

The United Nations remains concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on people across the country, whose health care system has been decimated by almost a decade of war, he said.

The Syrian authorities reported 123 COVID-19 cases with six deaths as of Monday.


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Roundup: Italy marks Republic Day with tribute to coronavirus victims




Italy on Tuesday marked its annual Republic Day with a tribute to the almost 33,500 Italians who lost their lives to the novel coronavirus.

The national holiday is the anniversary of June 2, 1946, when a majority of Italians voted in favor of being a republic instead of a monarchy in a national referendum that was also the first time women were allowed to vote.

On Tuesday morning, Italian President Sergio Mattarella placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument in the central Piazza Venezia, in the presence of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and other top officials.

Then the Air Force acrobatics team — the Frecce Tricolori (Italian for “three-colored arrows”) — flew in formation over the capital, leaving smoke trails in the colors of the Italian flag: green, white, and red.

This year, beginning on May 25, the Frecce Tricolori have flown over the capitals of Italy’s 20 regions in what the Air Force called “a symbolic hugging of the entire nation with the three-colored smoke in a sign of unity, solidarity and recovery.”

“One of the crucial principles of acrobatic flight is that of flying together while maintaining the right distance,” the Air Force said in a statement. “This principle can become a metaphor for … our daily lives now: distant, but united.”

The Frecce Tricolori also flew over the town of Codogno in the northern Lombardy region, where the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out on Feb. 21 and where the first red zone was set up.

Instead of presiding over the traditional military parade in Rome, which was canceled this year, Mattarella on Tuesday traveled to Codogno to “pay tribute to all the victims and to bear witness to the courage of all Italians” in the battle against the new coronavirus.

He met with local and regional officials and visited the local cemetery, where he laid a wreath for those who lost their lives to the virus.

Back in Rome, Mattarella attended a concert in honor of the victims of the novel coronavirus at the Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital, which houses the National Institute for Infectious Disease (INMI) and which is on the frontlines in battling the virus.

In a televised speech to the nation on Monday evening, Mattarella said that “many of us hold the heartbreaking memory of those who passed away due to the coronavirus: relatives, friends, colleagues.”

The president said the people of Italy are fighting “an invisible enemy” which has “disrupted our lives … and placed the productive structure of our country under enormous strain.”

More challenges lie ahead in the “reconstruction” of the country in the wake of the pandemic, Mattarella said, adding “we are not alone.”

“Europe shows it has recovered the authentic spirit of its integration,” Mattarella noted.

“Solidarity between the countries of the (European) Union is not one option out of many, but the only way to face successfully the most serious crisis our generations have experienced,” he said.

“No country will have an acceptable future without the European Union — not even the strongest, not even the one least stricken by the virus,” the president stressed.


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FRSC promotes, decorates 3 senior officers



The Federal Road Safety Corps on Tuesday in Ilorin decorated three of its senior officers.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the low key event held at the RS8 Zonal Command Headquarters, Ilorin.

The Zonal Commanding Officer, Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM) Amauche Nwaka, while reading the address of the Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, said the promotion was well-deserved, based on hard work.

“As it is the culture of the Corps, the seasons of reward have never been delayed.

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shut down nations, the FRSC thought it wise not to shut down nor delay the recognition and upliftment of officers.

“This was achieved with the introduction of a novel process in promotion, in the form of virtual interview, rounding off the 2019 promotion.

“I congratulate all of you for your well-deserved promotion. You worked hard for it. You should be mindful that you will be met with several forms of new challenges.

“You should, therefore, be prepared for these challenges and opportunities; your ability to sustain your new positions would vindicate your elevation.

“Therefore, it is on this premise that you are charged to continue to work as we go forward, considering the numerous road safety management challenges facing our dear country.

“You are also reminded of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, which has not abated.

“You are required to bring a new lease of life into the fight, by ensuring that all government policies at all levels are strictly adhered to.

“You are particularly to note the directions of the Presidential Task Force on the pandemic.

“Above all, you must live by example; COVID-19 is real, keep safe,” he charged them.

NAN reports that the officers promoted and decorated included the Kogi Sector Commander, Corps Commander Omotosho Abe, elevated to the rank of ACM; Ekiti Sector Commander, Corps Commander Faustina Alegbe, promoted to the rank of ACM, and Deputy Corps Commander Joshua Adekanye, who got promoted to the rank of Corps Commander.

Responding on behalf of the promoted officers, the most senior promoted officer, ACM Omotosho Abe, thanked God and the Corps Marshal for deeming it fit to elevate them.

“We are happy because our ranks and responsibilities have changed. We appreciate God because we thought it was impossible.

We appreciate the Corps Marshal and all our senior officers here present today. We say a big thank you,” he said.

NAN also reports that the occasion was graced by the Zonal Commanding Officer RS113Csvg%20xmlns=’’%20viewBox=’0%200%20300%20300’%3E%3C/svg%3E” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”300″ data-lazy-srcset=”×300.jpg 300w,×1024.jpg 1024w,×150.jpg 150w,×768.jpg 768w,×1536.jpg 1536w,×2048.jpg 2048w,×24.jpg 24w,×48.jpg 48w,×96.jpg 96w” data-lazy-sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-lazy-src=”×300.jpg”>

IMG_20200602_150432-300×300.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”300″ srcset=”×300.jpg 300w,×1024.jpg 1024w,×150.jpg 150w,×768.jpg 768w,×1536.jpg 1536w,×2048.jpg 2048w,×24.jpg 24w,×48.jpg 48w,×96.jpg 96w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px”>, Assistant Corps Marshal Godwin Ogaghaogene, and the Kwara Sector Commander, Corps Commander Joshua Owoade.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Biden berates Trump as protests over Floyd’s death continue to rage across United States




Former United States Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday blasted President Donald Trump for staging a photo op near the White House a day earlier as protesters were being dispersed by police.

Speaking in Philadelphia to address the nationwide unrest over the killing of George Floyd by police brutality, Biden said the American people “can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle, more interested in serving the passions of his base than the needs of the people in his care.”

He was referring to events on Monday when police used tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters near the White House so that Trump, after finishing a speech during which he threatened to send in the military to quell the escalating chaos, could visit the St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he stood for a photo op flanked by senior administration officials.

In the speech, which came on the same day when seven states and the District of Columbia will hold primaries that could see Biden reap the number of delegate votes enough to win the nomination, Biden said the nation was “crying out for leadership that can unite us,” and that he, instead of Trump, could deliver it.

“I won’t traffic in fear and division. I won’t fan the flames of hate. I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country – not use them for political gain,” the 77-year-old said. “I’ll do my job and take responsibility. I won’t blame others. I’ll never forget that the job isn’t about me.”

Biden said that demonstrators chanting “I can’t breathe” to echo Floyd’s last words before choking to death is “a wake-up call for our nation, for all of us.” Meanwhile, he said there was “no place for violence” or “rioting” or “destroying property,” adding that “nor is it acceptable for our police … to escalate violence.”

Seven days into the nationwide protests, incidents of arson, vandalism and looting happened in various places, along with civilian deaths and injuries of journalists related to alleged abusive use of force by the police.


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I-G orders transfer of investigation into UNIBEN student’s death



The Inspector General of Police (I-G) Mr Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the immediate transfer of investigations into the death of Miss Vera Omosuwa, to the Force Headquarters, Abuja.

The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja

Omosuwa, a 100-level female Microbiology student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) was reportedly killed in a church in Benin by hoodlums, after raping her.

Mba said the directive followed preliminary report from the team of investigators and forensic experts earlier deployed to assist the  Police Command in Edo in investigations into the unfortunate incident.

He said the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Mr Anthony Michael, would henceforth provide direct supervision to ensure speedy and thorough investigation of the case.

Mba said the I-G had also ordered immediate deployment of specialised investigators and additional investigation assets to all the Gender Desks Offices and Juvenile Welfare Centres (JWC) across the country.

He said the idea was to strengthen and enhance the capacity of the Units to respond to increasing challenges of sexual assaults and domestic/gender based violence.

He said the I-G called on the public to provide the police with useful informatIon that would aid investigations into ongoing sexual assaults and domestic/gender based violence across the country.

The I-G also enjoined parents and guardians to pay closer attention to their children and wards in these trying times.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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2020 Budget: Senate increases oil price benchmark to $28



The Senate on Tuesday increased the 25 dollars per barrel oil price benchmark proposed by the executive in the revised Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) forwarded to it for approval.

The upper chamber made the increase on the oil price benchmark to 28 Dollars.

The resolution was sequel to the consideration and adoption of report of its Committee on Finance mandated to work on the revised documents by the executive during plenary.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Solomon Olamilekan, presented the report.

Olamilekan in his submission said the increase effected on the oil price benchmark was as a result of the recent upward trend of the crude oil market which stood at 38 Dollars per barrel with a very strong expectation that the price would rise to as high as 40 to 45 Dollars per barrel.

The senate also reduced from 1.9 million barrel per day to 1.8 million barrel per day oil production proposed by the executive in the documents.

This is as it declared monies kept in the Natural Resources Development Accounts as waste.

However, other critical parameters including the exchange rate of N360 to a US dollar, 14.43 inflation growth rate and 4.42 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate were retained.

Other assumptions cum proposals retained include N5.09 trillion Federal Government’s revenue, N10 .51 trillion proposed expenditure, N4.95 trillion fiscal deficit, N4.17 trillion new borrowings (including Foreign and domestic Borrowings).

The Senate also retained the critical components of the proposal as presented by the executive with adoption of N10.51 trillion as total expenditure, N4.93 trillion as total recurrent, N2.83 trillion for personnel cost and N2.23 trillion for capital expenditure.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan urged the Senate Committee on Privatisation to liaise with the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) in ensuring that the projected N260 billion from proceeds of privatised agencies was realised and accordingly used to fund the budget.

He frowned at some of the special accounts being kept by the executive, particularly the Natural Resources Development Accounts.

According to him, such accounts at this time of scarcity of funds to finance the budget are not all that necessary.

Keeping monies in Natural Resources Development Accounts is more of waste than serving critical purposes,” he said.

He thereafter adjourned sitting of the Senate to Tuesday, June 9, for consideration and possible passage of the revised N10.509 trillion 2020 budget.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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